Mainstream women describe how we are embracing equity in energy transition
Mainstream is marking International Women's Day by demonstrating its commitment to equity – the theme for 2023 – as a central element of delivering a just energy transition.
The company's values-led approach to its mission is focused on providing more than equality of opportunity to those in the workplace and the communities in which it operates. Its projects seek to redress compounded disadvantages that put sections of society at particular risk of being left behind by climate change and the move to green economies.
In accounting for the different starting points linked to poverty, ethnic discrimination, gender bias and many other factors, it can give people a true level playing field from which to realise their full potential. And by building that diversity into its own organisation, Mainstream strengthens its ability to address all the diverse needs of sustainable development.
That was the message delivered by 12 Mainstream women in the company's IWD 2023 video. Read on to see how their own stories feed into the drive to "embrace equity".
WIND FARM SYSTEM ENGINEER, NORWAY
What's your background? I grew up in Bergen, a city on the west coast of Norway. This is also where I went to both school and university. I have aways been fascinated by the weather (coming from a city with rough weather conditions), and topics like climate change and energy have always interested me. I chose education based on a desire to solve important problems and contribute to a sustainable world.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? During my studies, offshore wind quickly became my biggest interest. As the industry is expanding, I see this as a great opportunity for me to develop both myself and the business to face new challenges. Today, I am so happy to be constantly learning about new technology, to have a coordinating role and to achieve goals together with my team.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? We have a very inclusive and collaborative environment in the office, regardless of age, background and gender. For me, it is important to be given equal possibilities, and then it is up to us women to take the opportunities that come our way!
RECEPTIONIST, SOUTH AFRICA
What's your background? I grew up in a very small Eastern Cape town called Tarkastad. I went to Raymond Mhlaba Senior Secondary School, where I matriculated, and came to Cape Town to further my studies. I went to College of Cape Town City Campus, where I dropped out due to unforeseen circumstances.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? I joined in 2011 when I was referred here by a friend. At that time there were only six people employed within Mainstream South Africa. My goal was to become an accountant and is still one of my future goals.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? I am proud to be apart of Mainstream where Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a main factor in our company. I feel that I am welcomed to voice my opinion and not be frowned upon. By having a DEI programme in place from the start of your induction, and implementing those values in your day-to-day activities, it makes you feel that you are part of something greater. The company culture makes me feel that I am valued and understood.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS LEADER, CHILE
What’s your background? I grew up in and attended school in Santiago, Chile. I was your typical Jack-of-all-trades, excelling at everything but having absolutely no clue whatsoever as to what I wanted to do in the future. I did know though that I wanted to contribute to society, that whatever enterprise I was to embark on, I wanted it to be of benefit for my country and my people.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? As climate change advanced and became a global threat, it became clear to me that I wanted to be part of the solution. And a great way to tackle climate change is by stopping burning fossil oils and migrating to renewable energies, so I set myself to become part of a great renewable energy company and to contribute from my expertise field. And here I am now, at Mainstream!
How do you see us embracing equity for women? The greatest thing about how Mainstream is delivering equity to us women is the access we have to strategic positions. We can sit at the table and make important decisions, we are able to voice our point of views and opinions, and have our knowledge and expertise recognised and taken into account by everyone as peers.
HYBRID SOLUTIONS JUNIOR ANALYST, IRELAND
What’s your background? I grew up in Cork, and went to school there as well. My only real target growing up was to do something that was both useful and interesting.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? I first heard of Mainstream from an enthusiastic college lecturer; what drew me was the genuine respect the company has for the people working here, and in the areas where it develops.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? It’s difficult to describe what Mainstream has done for women’s equity in the company, as I haven’t encountered a lack of it in my own experience. There is always a level of respect for the voice and capability of women who work here.
SENIOR LEGAL ASSOCIATE, APAC, PHILIPPINES
What’s your background? When I was younger, I always dreamt of becoming a lawyer to make significant impact on other people’s lives. Now as a lawyer, the dream of making a significant impact on other people’s lives remains.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? The very reason I decided to join Mainstream almost two years ago was to enter the Renewable Energy space and to be in a company which has the same values as mine.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? Mainstream is helping deliver equity for women because it is a company that can see the potential in every person regardless of one’s gender.
FINANCE MANAGER, SOUTH AFRICA
What’s your background? I grew up in Parkwood Estate. I went to South Peninsula Senior Secondary school, did B Comm Acc at the University of the Western Cape and my Honours at the University of Natal. I always wanted to be a doctor but in the end I ended up qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. I still love helping people but have no regrets of how things turned out.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? I joined Mainstream as an exciting opportunity for change to a completely new industry and am happy to be being associated with a company and industry that is providing a much needed resource in our country and in a natural, clean and environment friendly way.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? I am proud that we have a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and I am one of the members. We have been active in helping in schools as part of this group, and we purposely mix employees from various departments and the Community so that we get to know each other and show how we can work together, no matter who we are and how different or similar we are.
Senior HR administrator, Chile
What’s your background? I grew up and studied in Concepción, a city in the south of Chile with many parks and beautiful places. I never had such clear long-term goals, but I always knew that I wanted to start a family and have a fulfilling career that I could enjoy and find meaningful.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? When the opportunity appeared, it was all about personal values, working in renewable energy it is aligned with my personal values and beliefs about the importance of sustainable living, environmental protection, and social responsibility. Pursuing a career in renewable energy can be a way to live out those values in your professional life.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? By hiring women and have us represented in leadership teams! Organisations can promote diversity and inclusion in their workforce, which can help create a more welcoming and supportive work culture for women, crucial to fostering equity.
Hilde Sørvang Stafford
OFFICE MANAGER, NORWAY
What’s your background? I grew up in the island community Lofoten, which is located above the Arctic Circle, in the northern part of Norway. I wanted, probably like many others, a good and healthy lifestyle, a nice job and to establish a family. On top of my list was working with new and interesting people in a good working environment.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? Working with new and growing industries offers a number of exciting challenges. Renewables is considered the industry of the future ;)
How do you see us embracing equity for women? I have worked in the Aker system on and off since the mid-80s. I have seen equity improving from year to year. The number of women in both technical and management positions have increased very much over those three or four decades.
JUNIOR HR ADMINISTRATOR, IRELAND
What’s your background? I grew up in a small town on Vancouver Island off the coast of Western Canada. I went to school at the local community college studying Business Administration. My dreams were to one day break into the fashion industry and become a buyer for a luxury designer department store. Reality kicked in and HR eventually became a path I was much more suited to.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? I was inspired to work for Mainstream because I saw great opportunity and potential in the renewables sector to grow my HR career. Having a female CEO [in Mary Quaney] was also very attractive; seeing that there was no limit on the progression of females in leadership roles within the company. Mainstream’s set of values very much align with mine, which was a huge selling point as well.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? Women generally leave companies for three main reasons: They want to advance but face stronger headwinds, being over worked and under recognised (compared to men at their level) and looking for a better work culture.
I think what Mainstream does really well is provide flexibility with our hybrid working policy, which enables women to work in an arrangement they prefer, along with making it easier to deal with bias. Because of our strong values, I feel that women are afforded many great equal opportunities along with being in an environment that fosters respect – which is a great building block for any woman wanting to advance their careers.
Through our recruitment process, we think about the language we use within advertisements and including females in the interview process to attract more female candidates. This helps balance the playing field when looking at a talent pool that often can be misrepresented by having more male applicants. Are we there yet with our DEI policies? Not quite, but our HR team is figuring out new ways to look at not only gender equality but diversity and inclusion as well.
Geographic Information System SPECIALIST, PHILIPPINES
What’s your background? I was born and raised in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, a city that features architecture unique to the Spanish Colonial Era. Back then, I had a lot of dreams for when I was older. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a model or a fashion designer. In high school, I wanted to be an architect or an engineer. Then, at university in Manila, I pursued an engineering degree while also aspiring to be a researcher. I wanted to be a lot of things back then, and I still do.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? I applied for the position of GIS Intern after my thesis professor shared the link to the job posting with our class. GIS solutions have always been used to solve real-world problems, and while at university, I had numerous opportunities to investigate how they could be applied to education, health, safety, and wild life. However, I'd not seen how it could be applied in renewable energy, so I was excited to learn about it in Mainstream.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? I believe that the aspect of equity for women has already been ingrained in the Mainstream values, particularly with regard to Respect. Respecting your co-workers, no matter who they are or what background they come from, breeds respect in other ways, such as respecting the work they do and their experiences and outlooks, regardless of gender. Mainstream has always been proactive and vocal about gender equity and promoting inclusivity in the workplace, as evidenced by the workshops, blogs and news that the company is very passionate about sharing with the public on their various social media platforms.
GENERAL ACCOUNTANT, VIETNAM
What’s your background? I grew up in a small city in Vietnam and went to school there before moving to Ho Chi Minh City for college. I always had a passion for sustainability and knew that I wanted to work in an industry that would make a positive impact to the society.
How did your journey lead to Mainstream? When I learned about Mainstream's vision and mission, I was drawn to the company's commitment to sustainability, diversity and innovation.
How do you see us embracing equity for women? I believe that Mainstream is helping to deliver equity for women by providing equal opportunities for professional development and career advancement, regardless of gender or background. The company's focus on renewable energy also contributes to a cleaner and more equitable future for all. I am proud to be part of an organisation that values diversity and works towards a more sustainable future.